A lack of ranting and raving here is generally a sign that most is right with the world. Or more specifically that I’ve managed to avoid the masses and the raft of stupid they bring along with them. With that being said, I think it’s time to consider rejiggering the holiday calendar. I mean why celebrate Christmas in the middle of the bloody winter? It’s dark, cold, and there is every chance that you’ll find yourself snowed-in-place at any given moment. For a holiday that involves painfully detailed travel plans, wouldn’t it make more sense to schedule this type of event say in August when the days are long and low temperatures don’t plunge into the single digits? The church has moved things around on the calendar for years and for far lesser reasons. Surely no one really believes that an actual man named Jesus was born exactly on December 25th in the year zero (yes, I realize there was technically no year 0). And for the record, there was no concept of the Gregorian calendar at that point, so fixing the big day at the end of December seems to be speculative at best… So really there’s no reason not to get on the move-Christmas-to-a-warmer-month bandwagon. Join me, won’t you?
I just crossed over the 100-resumes-sent-out mark – an occasion made even more auspicious because I’m only a few hours away from punching out for two weeks of Christmas vacation. So really, my quest to get out of this madding reality will be suspended until after the new year, because, well, I will be out… even if it’s only temporary. Temporary is way, way better than nothing. Getting myself to a place where the hardest decision I need to make involves whether the ham sandwich should have mustard or mayonnaise seems to be one of the few ideas I can get behind lately with my full-throated support.
This will be the first trip of any length I’ve tried since I stopped sleeping like normal people. It’s also the first trip since I started drinking every bottle of water, soda, or Gatorade in site. I’m not all sure how this combination is going to work out other than almost guaranteeing that I won’t be setting a personal speed record for this trip. I just hope I can avoid making a pit stop every two hours. That would turn what’s already a tough drive into just about intolerable. One thing’s for certain, though… come hell or high water, I’m heading east and soon, with all the speed I can muster.
I’m not sure I’m happy with my relationship with the new doctor. I liked my old doc. I told her what the problem was and what I wanted to happen and then *poof* it happened. This new guy and I seem to be talking past one another. I’m telling him what the problem is and then he wants to figure out what the root cause is before treating the symptoms. That’s great and all, but really, all I wanted out of today was to improve my life through chemistry and get an actual full night’s sleep. No such luck from Dr. Let’s-run-some-tests. Instead of something to make me sleep, all I have to show for today is a $23 co-pay, what seemed to be an awful lot of drawn blood being sent off for testing, and a possible diagnosis of a syndrome whose only appreciable symptom seems to be extreme dry mouth. So as far as I can tell, the logic here is: Dry mouth triggers increased drinking, which causes increased kidney function, which triggers frequent nighttime visits to the water closet, which means waking up at all times of the night and results in a very, very sleepy Jeff. Sure, all this is possible, but really all I’m interested in is getting to sleep. The rest is in the nice-to-fix category, but not really my big issue at the moment. If someone want’s to sneak up behind me and hit me in the head with something hard and knock me out for a few hours, I’d consider it a huge favor and an early Christmas present.
On the up side, while the doc was trying to look up drug interactions on his medical palm pilot, I beat him to it with my iPad. I don’t think he was as impressed as he probably should have been. I mean, I wasn’t even able to use their wifi and I still beat him to it. With the rest of the visit being what it was, I’m going to take that as a small victory. That’s probably why he’s not going to do anything other than look at test results until after we meet again after the first of the year. Pyrrhic victory, much?
Under other circumstances, I’d trot out something pithy and do my best to make a big deal out of hitting my 300th post. In fairness, that’s not not just here at http://www.jeffreytharp.com, but also includes posts I had made over at Blogger. It doesn’t include the now archived posts from long ago Myspace blog. There were probably another 200 of those, but we’re sticking with the “serious” work I’ve down in the past couple of years for purposes of counting.
Actually, 300 doesn’t seem like that many until you really sit doen and think about what goes into writing even one of these short bits – It’s a minimum half hour and climbs north of an hour for one of the more epic rants, so lets say all told it’s taken something more than 150 hours. Still not impressed? Sit down at your trusty keyboard and write nonstop for six days and then tell me what 150 hours feels like. Sure, they’re not all award winners by any stretch, but it’s a pretty impressive record of what’s been going on and the things that have caught my attention over the last three or four years. It’s no Gutenberg Bible or anything, but I’m mighty proud of alot of what’s been said here. At some point we should get back into a grove where the content writes itself. We’ll reevaluate at post 600.
If there was ever a good reason for writer’s block, I’d have to make the argument that your brain slowly turning to goo is probably one of them. I’m on day 6478 of not getting a full night’s sleep. Well, maybe it’s more like day 10, but it feels like 6478. Any ability to pay attention to details that I ever had is slipping away… and between the hours of 2 and 4 PM, forget it. Those are the hours when the most demanding thing I can manage to do is stay awake.
It could be worse I suppose. At least I can get back to sleep quickly, but 3-5 interruptions in six hours seems excessive. I’ve got a doctors appointment on Tuesday where I’m sure he’ll tell me he’s not quite sure and want to pull samples, run test, and gets a pile of scans of one thing or another. What I’m not expecting is a solution to my little problem. I don’t think I’ll be sleeping any better Wednesday night than I did last night or than I will tonight… But that’s what I want to expect.
I want better living (sleeping) through chemistry, damnit, and I want it now! But I don’t want the pesky sleepwalking or operating heavy equipment side effects. And I don’t want to be groggy when I wake up. I’m looking at you medical science. You need to fix this in a damned hurry and get me back to some semblance of normalcy. Clock starts Wednesday 10:00. I’ll be waiting.
I’ve been noticing more often that things that didn’t use to happen, are happening. I never had the misconception that I was indestructible, but for the most part injuries followed the pattern of a) get hurt and b) feel better a day or two later. It seems that part a is more frequent and part b is now taking longer than it should. We’re going to set aside the week long case of insomnia I’ve been laboring under and focus just on the physical issues at hand. Like Thursday and Friday, when my wrist ached steadily the more I typed (and I spend alot of time typing). Sunday I pulled something in my foot (thanks, of course, to one or more of the dogs) and that’s still a pain point when I step anything more than gingerly. This morning, I woke up with the frustrating inability to raise my left arm above my shoulder without being rewarded for my efforts with stabbing pain. That’s not something you want to learn at 0435, especially when your morning routine involves shaving your head, which, by definition resides above shoulder height. It tends to lead to a yelp of distress that no one enjoys at that hour. I’m not talking about debilitating pain here, but it seems that at the ripe old age of 32, I should be able to function in daily life without feeling like I’m falling apart.
Is this really what there is to look forward to for the next 30-40 years? If so, all I can say is not cool. Not cool at all. Well, that and it might be a good idea to buy stock in companies that make pain relievers. Who knows what bit or piece is going to feel like rebelling next.
As a taxpayer, I’m absolutely appalled at the seemingly out of control spending we’ve seen from this government over the last 18 months. It’s beyond irresponsible and boarders on criminal. On the other hand, as one cog in the two million strong federal civilian workforce, all I can really say about the minuscule savings (yes, $5B is minuscule in terms of the federal budget) realized by freezing federal raises for two years is, WTF? That’s like using a bandaid to treat a sucking chest wound. It’s a structural problem and not one brought about by my picking up an extra 1.4% next year.
Want to fix the real problem you have with payroll being too high? Build an HR system that works. There are some real all-stars on the roster in every agency, but the reality is 80% of the work is being done by 20% of the workforce. Cull the dead wood. Decimate the workforce. Literally. Take the bottom 10% of performers and show them the door and then you’ll be off to a good start on payroll savings. Do it again the next year and you’ll be starting to talk about real money. Take the programs and projects that aren’t showing a return, those that just aren’t working and put them on the chopping block. You could eliminate whole damned departments and agencies that way.
If you want big savings, you’ve got to go big. Taking $1000 out of my pocket isn’t going to do it for ya, so stop pretending that you’ve done anything with this “freeze.” Your spin-masters are telling me that I should feel sorry for wanting my raise this year, but let me tell you for the record, I don’t. I know what kind of jacked up things I fix on a daily basis. I know that it’s my skill and talent, and that of a handful of others that makes incompetents look good. We’re practically miracle workers. And I know what that’s worth – A hell of a lot more than an extra $.48 an hour.
So, until the Congress and the administration are ready to get serious about putting things somewhere close to back on track, I’m tired of being the whipping boy for everything a generation of politicians has done wrong. I want my raise. I know I’ve earned it.
For those who think federal workers are over paid, feel free to visit http://www.usajobs.com and build your resume. Uncle Sam is still hiring. I think you’ll find the view from the inside a little different.